Episode 101 - That First Date...
The Thursday Thesis - 31/05/2018
As first dates go, this was a stinker – the food was divine, the service immaculate, and my date was... well, beautiful, graceful and vivacious.
So she was not the problem, but there was something going terribly wrong.
“Aha!” I got it, I knew what it was. Her friends had shown up, uninvited and en masse. Our cosy little table-for-two, tucked away in a tastefully lit corner of a carefully chosen Italian restaurant, was being overwhelmed by their incessant chatter.
I didn’t invite them to join us, but they came anyway, the bastards!
She reached across to pick up her phone once again, did the screen-swipe thing and stared at me.
I raised my eyebrow – a silent question...
That was the last time I saw her phone that night. Come to think of it, that was the last time I saw her, too.
It seems she didn’t like the message I’d sent to her across the table, via satellite: it read “Look at me. Talk with me. Put away your phone and let’s be human with each other, please.”
She texted to say that it wasn't going to work, but that wasn't exactly any kind of news to me.
“No biggie...plenty more fish...” I reasoned.
Look around you: you see it everywhere – people together, but estranged. From the couple at dinner to the family at play, phones intrude and headphones exclude.
How stupid have we become?
When you’re with someone, really be with that person; give them your undivided attention and show them some Love. Don’t put the things that matter most at the mercy of the things that matter least: don’t make your kids, your wife, your date or your friends play second fiddle to a Tweet, Facebook update, text message or anything else.
Be with them.
Be with them completely, and pay attention.
Leave your phone in your bag when you are at dinner with your date, partner or spouse. Leave it in the car when you’re with your kids.
Believe me, nothing that is more important than the person you are with will come through your phone in the moments you are disconnected from it.
Be with them.
Your antisocial media will still be there in all its self-indulgent glory when the special time is over and you’re back on the hamster wheel again.
Failing to honour the real, face-to-face skin-and-bone people is tragic and it is immoral. Taking a slice of time from someone’s life to be with them and then offering them only the fag-end of what’s left after you’ve “kept up to date” with everything else is a bloody insult to them. Don’t do it.
Be with them.
Look around you and you’ll see masses of people, hooked up to – and hooked on – their phones. Notice how often they (we) check for new messages – even at inappropriate times? We’re like a bunch of crackheads in need of a score every thirty seconds – it’s pathetic and it’s tragic.
Ask yourself, honestly, do you own the phone or does it own you?
Now do yourself a big one - write this down: Leave your phone in the car, put it in your bag, silence it completely.
If you have balls of steel you could even turn it off – if you think you’ll be able to cope with the anxiety that you will feel should you dare to do such a thing.
Put your headphones away and grow up!
© Neil Cowmeadow 2018
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